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A First Look at our Keg Wagons!

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Our keg wagons are now complete and are now on the high seas after departing China! They are due to land in the IRM warehouse in late June 2020.


While the conveyance of Guinness and other beers dates back to the days of steam, it was the emergence of ISO intermodal standards in the early 1970s which allowed breweries to maximise the potential of rail transport. Córas Iompair Éireann’s new fleet of 42ft bogie flat wagons were particularly suitable, as their capacity enabled large quantities of kegged beer to be transported efficiently.


Although brands such as Harp and Heineken were also transported at various times, it is The Black Stuff which became synonymous with this traffic, with CIÉ constructing an additional batch of bogie wagons in 1978 specifically to meet the demands of transporting Guinness.


The goods yard at Dublin’s Heuston Station became the focal point for this operation, with kegs being brought the short distance from the St James’s Gate brewery by road and transferred to 42ft wagons for distribution to depots located right across the CIÉ/Irish Rail and Northern Ireland Railways networks.


These wagons were often mixed with other traffic, such as containers, bulk and bagged cement, and oil, but demand frequently called for dedicated trainloads, too. Initially carried in transport cages with kegs stacked two-high, trains stopped at signals in certain areas became a target for thieves, who could sneak aboard and remove kegs with relative ease. The solution, introduced in the mid-1990s, was to utilise taller cages which were more difficult to access.


Keg trains were a common sight on the network for almost four decades. However, changes to the Irish railway environment in the mid-2000s resulted in the loss of several freight flows, with keg traffic being one of the high profile casualties, finally coming to an end in 2006.


Our model of these distinctive wagons utilises the CIE 42ft flat wagon, and follows on from the hugely successful container liners and fertiliser wagons, which sold out shortly after release. To supplement this demand, we have increased the production run of the beer keg wagons. Nevertheless, this increased run is already over 60% accounted for, proving that beer is as popular as ever!


These highly detailed wagons are priced at €100 per twin pack, with four different packs available. All different packs feature different running numbers and a bundle deal for all eight wagons is available, priced at €370. Orders can now be placed by clicking here.

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